Leviticus 21:10
And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;
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(10) And he that is the high priest among his brethren.—That is, among his priestly brethren, the one who is distinguished among them by this office.

Upon whose head the anointing oil was poured.—This profuse pouring of oil was the distinctive feature in the consecration of the high priest. (See Leviticus 8:12.)

Consecrated to put on the garments.—Better, consecrated by putting on the garments. The robing of the high priest by Moses, as well as the anointing him, constituted part of the consecration ceremony. (See Leviticus 8:7-11.)

Shall not uncover his head.—Better, shall not let his head be dishevelled, which was a sign of mourning. (See Leviticus 10:6.)

Nor rend his clothes.—That is, “in the time of distress,” as the ancient Chaldee version of Jonathan rightly adds after it. Sustaining this high position, and being the intercessor between God and man, such outward expressions of sorrow might lead those in whose behalf he ministers in the sanctuary to believe that he thereby impugns the justice of the Divine judgment.

Leviticus 21:10. The garments — Those holy garments which were peculiar to him. Shall not uncover his head — This being then the posture of mourners, (Leviticus 10:6,) though afterward the custom was changed, and mourners covered their heads, 2 Samuel 15:30; Esther 6:12. Nor rend his clothes — Another expression of mourning.

21:1-24 Laws concerning the priests. - As these priests were types of Christ, so all ministers must be followers of him, that their example may teach others to imitate the Saviour. Without blemish, and separate from sinners, He executed his priestly office on earth. What manner of persons then should his ministers be! But all are, if Christians, spiritual priests; the minister especially is called to set a good example, that the people may follow it. Our bodily infirmities, blessed be God, cannot now shut us out from his service, from these privileges, or from his heavenly glory. Many a healthful, beautiful soul is lodged in a feeble, deformed body. And those who may not be suited for the work of the ministry, may serve God with comfort in other duties in his church.It was the distinguishing mark of the anointing of the high priest, that the holy oil was poured upon his head like a crown (compare Leviticus 8:12).

Uncover his head - Rather, let his hair be disheveled. See the note at Leviticus 10:6.

10-15. he that is the high priest among his brethren … shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes—The indulgence in the excepted cases of family bereavement, mentioned above [Le 21:2, 3], which was granted to the common priests, was denied to him; for his absence from the sanctuary for the removal of any contracted defilement could not have been dispensed with, neither could he have acted as intercessor for the people, unless ceremonially clean. Moreover, the high dignity of his office demanded a corresponding superiority in personal holiness, and stringent rules were prescribed for the purpose of upholding the suitable dignity of his station and family. The same rules are extended to the families of Christian ministers (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6). Upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, Leviticus 8:12; which was only sprinkled upon inferior priests, blood also being mixed with it, Leviticus 8:30.

The garments, to wit, those holy garments which were peculiar to him, as well as those common to others.

Shall not uncover his head; this being then the posture of mourners, Leviticus 10:6, though afterwards the custom was changed, and mourners covered their heads, 2 Samuel 15:30 Esther 6:12. Or if this custom was now in use, the meaning may be, he shall not put off the priestly covering or mitre, which was necessary for him to do, if he had put on the mourner’s covering upon his head, otherwise the holy covering had been defiled, but he shall continue in the exercise of his office, which is signified by keeping on his priestly garments.

And he that is the high priest among his brethren,.... Either among his brethren, the priests, being in office above them; or among his brethren the Israelites, among and over whom he is high priest; or, as others render it, "the priest who is greater than his brethren" (d), in an higher office; the Jews say (e) the high priest was to be greater than his brethren, in beauty, in strength, in wisdom, and in riches; and if he had not money enough, all the priests were to give him of theirs, everyone according to his riches, until he became the richest among them all:

upon whose head the anointing oil was poured; as it was poured upon Aaron at his consecration, and those that succeeded him, Exodus 29:7 Leviticus 8:12,

and that is consecrated to put on the garments; the eight garments with which the high priest was clothed at the time of his consecration, Leviticus 8:7; and in which he and his sons are said to be consecrated, Exodus 29:29; in order to which he was "to fill his hand"; as the phrase here is, that is, with the fat and right shoulder of the ram of consecration, and with the loaf of bread, and cake of oiled bread, and wafer, Exodus 29:23; in all which he was a type of Christ, the great High Priest, as he is often called, who is greater than his brethren in all the above things, the high priest exceeded his brethren, except in worldly riches; and yet the earth also is his, and the fulness thereof, well as he is fairer than the children of men, stronger than the strong man armed, and the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in him; he is anointed also with the oil of gladness above his fellows; and all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and is consecrated an high priest for evermore: of the high priest it is said, he

shall not uncover his head: that is, on account of the dead; not take off his mitre, or in any such way express mourning for the dead; or shall not nourish his hair or let it grow, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; and so Jarchi interprets it, he shall not let the hair grow for mourning; and what is nourishing of the hair? when it is let grow more than thirty days:

nor rend his clothes; that is, on the same account, and therefore Jonathan adds, in the hour of distress, or mourning for the dead; otherwise, in case of blasphemy, he might rend his clothes, see Matthew 26:65; and indeed, according to the Jewish canons, he might rend his clothes in mourning, only in a different manner from common priests; for so they say (f),"he may not rend for the dead, as other priests,''as it is said: "nor rend his clothes"; and if he rends he is to be beaten, but he may rend below over against (or near) his feet; and so in the Misnah (g), an high priest rends below, and a common priest above; See Gill on Leviticus 10:6.

(d) So Pagninus, Ainsworth, and others. (e) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 18. 1. Horayot, fol. 9. 1. Cholin, fol. 134. 2. Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 1. & in Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 3. & Bartenora in ib. (f) Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 6. (g) Horayot, c. 3. sect. 5.

And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not {g} uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;

(g) He shall use no such ceremonies as the mourners observed.

10. The reference to the anointing and vesting may be taken from Pin which source it now appears in Exodus 29:5 ff.

that is consecrated] See R.V. mg. and note on Leviticus 8:33.

shall not let the hair of his head go loose] so as to preserve a seemly appearance in contrast to that of the leper. See on Leviticus 10:6. A.V. wrongly, ‘shall not uncover his head.’

nor rend his clothes] as was the custom in sign of mourning (2 Samuel 1:11; 2 Samuel 3:31, etc.).

10–15. Corresponding regulations, but of a somewhat stricter character, for the high priest

Verses 10-15. - The high priest, upon whose head the anointing off was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, symbolizing in his person the Holy One in a more special manner than the other priests, has to aim so much the more at symbolical holiness. He may not, therefore. incur legal uncleanness by taking part in the funeral rites, even of his father or mother, not being permitted to absent himself from the sanctuary, which he would have to do if he had thus ceremonially defiled himself. Nor is it enough that he should abstain from taking an immoral or a divorced wife; he may only wed a virgin and of his own people, whereas the other priests might marry widows and the daughters of strangers dwelling among the Israelites. In the ordinances for priests given in Ezekiel 44, the ordinary priests, as well as the high priest, are forbidden to marry widows, unless they be the widows of priests (Ezekiel 44:22). Leviticus 21:10The high priest was to maintain a spotless purity in a higher degree still. He, whose head had been anointed with oil, and who had been sanctified to put on the holy clothes (see Leviticus 8:7-12 and Leviticus 7:37), was not to go with his hair flying loose when a death had taken place, nor to rend his clothes (see Leviticus 10:6), nor to go in to any dead body (מת נפשׁת souls of a departed one, i.e., dead persons); he was not to defile himself (cf. Leviticus 21:2) on account of his father and mother (i.e., when they were dead), nor to go out of the sanctuary funeris nempe causa (Ros.), to give way to his grief or attend the funeral. We are not to understand by this, however, that the sanctuary was to be his constant abode, as Bhr and Baumgarten maintain (cf. Leviticus 10:7). "Neither shall he profane the sanctuary of his God," sc., by any defilement of his person which he could and ought to avoid; "for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him" (cf. Leviticus 10:7), and defilement was incompatible with this. נזר does not mean the diadem of the high priest here, as in Exodus 29:6; Exodus 39:30, but consecration (see at Numbers 6:7).
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